Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Karolina Kowalkiewicz, UFC 205, 12 Nov 2016
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Karolina Kowalkiewicz was a phenomenal fight, a contest between technique and toughness. Another attestation to the legitimacy of womens MMA – if there still is any doubt. However before going into the fight, it would be appropriate to reflect on the incredible achievement of the UFC205 event itself.
UFC 205 was a historic and milestone event for many reasons. The achievement of Conor McGregor to hold two championship belts in two different weight divisions at the same time. The remarkable and perhaps record breaking ticket and Pay Per View sales. The ticket prices and participation of fans and audience also shows that MMA is starting to arrive as a main stream sport.
In my opinion, the most remarkable aspect of UFC205 is that it was the first MMA event allowed to be held in the state of New York. A state that previously stubbornly refused to allow the sport in. Whether it was because of a corruption driven feud with the Fertitta family, a political stance that represented the opinion of the people of New York State, or a genuine worry about the safety of the sport. The UFC fought long and hard for the ability to enter the NY market and finally they achieved their goal. This not only opens the door for incredible events like UFC205, but also provides other promotions the chance to hold events in NY as well. Overall, an awesome achievement for the sport.
Now back to Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Karolina Kowalkiewicz. This was perhaps the most entertaining and satisfying fight to watch despite a lack of performance awards. Karolina Kowalkiewicz has worked hard and defeated a number of notable strawweight fighters in Rose Namajunas and Randa Markos. But one could also argue that Karolina probably didn’t earn the title shot yet. Likely the only reason she got the title shot was in defeating Rose Namajunas. Wins of Heather Jo Clark and Randa Markos probably doesn’t put someone into title contention. Nevertheless, she was willing and able for UFC205 and it would have been a good story to put two Polish girls together in a city with a large Polish population.
Anyone following this blog knows that I have a fascination with our Womens Strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Phenomenal kickboxing skills mixed with an Eastern European toughness and work ethic. Almost an impossible combination to beat right now. Joanna has been putting away top Strawweights like Carla Esparza, Jessica Penne, and Claudia Gadelha. Proving herself to be a formidable and dangerous defender of the belt.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Karolina Kowalkiewicz was a phenomenal fight because of the spectacular kickboxing combinations Joanna Jedrzejczyk was able to land. Perfect punch combinations landing clean. Each combination punctuated with a leg kick. Taking away Karolina’s movement, strength, and confidence. Joanna seemed to be the smaller fighter in the ring but she seemed to be able to dominate the clinch positions. Karolina was also never able to take Joanna down and keep her there.
On the other hand, Karolina had the incredible ability to weather these combinations, take the hits, and keep coming back. Tough skin, tough bones, and an unbreakable spirit. It was like the battle between a hammer and a piece of rubber. No matter what Joanna threw at her, Karolina would keep on coming back.
Karolina did knock Joanna down in the fourth round and had the champ dazed. However Karolina was not able to capitalize on it. That was the only moment of danger for the champion in what I thought was an otherwise one sided fight. Joanna’s striking is incredible and her take down defense keeps the fight on the feet. Karolina I now classify in the same class of tough fighters like Paige Vanzant, Clay Guida, and Diego Sanchez. Fighters who aren’t particularly good at any one style of fighting. But they win fights with their toughness and their indomitable spirit.
An awesome fight between technique and toughness. Please enjoy Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Karolina Kowalkiewicz.